Sound Advice: Stu Hamm

Jun 8, 2016 at 8:55 am

Stu Hamm is the only bass player to be voted Guitar Player magazine’s Rock Bassist of the Year and Jazz Bassist of the Year in the same year. Guitar virtuoso fans know Hamm’s work with greats Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, but he is also known for his innovative solo shows.

As one might expect with a musician of this caliber, Hamm left New Hampshire to go to the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the late 1970s. As luck would have it, two cats that were also hanging around Berklee at the same time were Vai and Satriani, leading to collaborations that would extend for years (Hamm played bass on Vai’s first solo album, Flex-Able). Yet it was while he was on tour with Satriani that his unique way of playing the four-string started to earn wider notice. Following in the footsteps of the great bass ground-breaker Jaco Pastorius and other Jazz and Funk bass innovators, Hamm employs various techniques and technologies to bring to life all of the sounds available to the instrument — and then some.

Hamm’s show, called the “Solo Bass Songs and Stories Tour,” showcases his famous solo abilities on the instrument, and also includes stories about the crazy Rock & Roll life that he has led while performing with folks like Vai, Satriani, Mick Jagger, Robert Fripp, Eric Johnson, Joan Baez and many others.

As for his unconventional solo technique on the electric bass, the names of some of his instructional DVDs say it all — Slap, Pop & Tap for the Bass, Deeper Inside The Bass and Fretboard Fitness. Hamm’s latest album is called The Book of Lies and it features a seven-piece bass solo suite, plus four full-band tracks.

Click here for tickets/more info.